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9 home security tips for the holidays

Category Advice

Margriet and Stefan returned home after a week away to find cupboards flung open and the floor strewn with garbage. After dashing into the house to check if any equipment and valuables were missing, Stefan discovered that all their audio and visual equipment had been taken, while Margriet found her jewellery box empty. It was also emotionally upsetting to find all the built-in cupboards flung open and personal effects and clothes manhandled.

If your door locks are of inferior quality, have them replaced with stronger locks, or add a second lock as an additional security measure.

What was even more worrying was the fact that it looked as though the robbery had only recently taken place, and the couple could have quite easily walked in while the robbers were still in the house.

"We don't have expensive things, but the intrusiveness of having a stranger in the house is upsetting," says Margriet.

The crime rate continues unabated in South Africa, especially during the holiday season when many leave their homes empty and head for the coast. No matter where you live, burglary is a crime of opportunity. Criminals are always on the lookout for the property with the least resistance.

Here's how to protect your home during the holidays:

1. Reinforce door locks 

Strong locks will make it harder for intruders to gain access to your home. Even when you are at home, always lock your doors. If your door locks are of inferior quality, have them replaced with stronger locks, or add a second lock as an additional security measure.

Place sensor lights in strategic locations where the lights will switch on immediately when there is movement, whether it’s in the garden, on shaded paths or in the driveway.

The door lock (dead bolt) should bed firmly into the strike plate mounted on the door frame. In many instances, builders install these using shorter screws, making it easy to kick in the door. Replace short screws with longer screws for peace of mind.

2. Seal sidelights and glass panels 

Many older homes have glass panels and sidelights on the front door. With these in place, burglars simply have to smash the glass to gain access and turn the door lock to enter your home. 

To overcome this, install security film on all glass panels that are not fitted with burglar bars. This resists a lot of pressure, so if someone throws a giant rock at the glass it may crack, but will stay in place, and the rock will bounce off the window.

3. Light up your exterior 

Solar-powered, motion-activated lights won't leave you in the dark, even when the power goes out. Lighting the exterior of your home is a great deterrent, since no criminal wants to be seen. 

Place sensor lights in strategic locations where the lights will switch on immediately when there is movement, whether it’s in the garden, on shaded paths or in the driveway. Builders have a solar-powered, motion-activated light that costs around R600. 

4. Secure patio doors 

Sliding patio doors are the easiest to breach because their locks can be damaged without too much effort, especially if burglar gates are not installed on these doors. 

Most sliding doors can easily be lifted off of their rollers and out of the frame. Secure them with a security bar, a dowel rod, or put a patio door lock on the track to prevent the doors from being removed. 

5. Add a deterrent

If you’re thinking of installing a home security system, consider that a high percentage of criminals check for home alarm systems. Even if you can't afford one, window stickers or wall signage may act as a deterrent, as long as they're believable. It doesn't cost much to have professional signs made up.

If you have a security system installed, make arrangements with a close friend or neighbour who can handle any alarms, false or otherwise, until your return.

6. Pretend you're at home 

If you're going on holiday, make sure you suspend any deliveries. Let your neighbours know and inform your body corporate so they can keep an eye on your home.

There are plenty of options for fitting timers on lamps that switch on at night while you are away. You can also install a motion-activated light in your home as this will alert neighbours to any illegal activity during your absence.

7. Don't forget to lock up the garage 

If people can gain access to your home via a garage, don't leave the remote in any vehicles you leave behind.

People often don't secure the door from the house to the garage, and if someone can get inside the garage and into your home, they have all the time in the world to clean out your house and fill up a vehicle without anyone in the neighbourhood being suspicious.

8. Keep trees trimmed

Large trees with overhanging branches offer burglars the cover needed to break in, unnoticed.

Trim any branches less than two metres above ground level and keep shrubs to a maximum height of one metre to prevent them from blocking windows or sight lines.

9. Don't advertise your vacation 

Recent statistics show that too many people post their vacation details on Twitter, Facebook or make use of geotagging.

If geotagging is enabled on your phone and you post a photo with a caption such as 'enjoying our holiday at...', a burglar may be able to find out where you live while knowing there is ample time to break in.

Article courtesy of www.home-dzine.co.za.

Author: Sourced from Property 24

Submitted 17 Nov 15 / Views 1559